Federal agents want Reddit to turn over the personal data of five prominent Redditors active in the Darknet Markets subreddit. IP addresses, names, and other data about five Reddit users active in Darknet Market discussions have been requested.

Earlier this month, the popular drug-and-weapon peddling darknet market Evolution vanished in an apparent scam by its creators. This subpoena, from a Baltimore Department of Homeland Security agent, looks like it's connected to Evolution, since all of the subpoenaed redditors had publicly discussed what went down when Evolution disappeared. One of them, security researcher Gwern Branwen, published a PSA post on the Darknet Markets subreddit earlier today:

Recently (2015-03-25), I was alerted by Reddit that there had been a subpoena for my Reddit account information and they would be responding by 2015-03-30; this followed their privacy policy where they inform all accounts affected by subpoenas if there is no gag order (which is more than most websites will do for you)

This subpoena may curb discussions that go down on the Darknet Market subreddit, which is a huge community hub for darknet market users. Branwen told Wired he expects some of the conversations to move elsewhere:

Branwen says he expects his revelation of the subpoena to drive many of r/darknetmarket’s conversations to Tor-protected forums like the drug-market discussion site called the Hub. “Riskier discussions will move onto the Hub, and as long as the Reddit admins don’t get spooked and shut it down similar to /r/jailbait, [r/darknetmarkets] will remain a useful discussion place,” he says.

I asked Reddit if it planned to comply. "Because this a pending legal matter, Reddit can’t provide a comment," a spokesperson told me, pointing to Reddit's privacy policy to highlight exactly what kind of personal information Reddit collects. Reddit stores the IP information on posts, comments, and messages for 90 days, so if it does comply, it's likely DHS will receive the IP info it's after.

[ Wired]


Contact the author at kate.knibbs@gizmodo.com.
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